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Presidents Ranked By Economic Management


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I created an algorithm for MS Excel that ranks economic management. They are awarded or lose points based on these factors:

  • Notable depression, recession or panic begins or continues to the end of their term.
  • Notable depression, recession, or panic is resolved/ends during their term. 
  • Notable economic boom begins or continues to the end of their term. 
  • Notable economic boom ends during their term
  • President has a better debt change % than recent predecessors as they left office
  • President reduced the debt as they left office
  • Debt was increased by 100%
  • Inflation % was better than recent predecessors
  • Inflation was in the negatives (i.e. had deflation) as they left office
  • Inflation hit double digits during presidency
  • Then I have one category that is not data based, which awards a slightly bonus to three historically great/bad events. These events are the creation of the US economic system (Washington), the Great Depression (Hoover and FDR), Clinton Surplus (only because a surplus for a modern president is unheard of) and this isn't captured in the debt category since he technically increased the national debt.

Here are the presidents ranked in economic management:

  1. Calvin Coolidge
  2. Franklin Pierce
  3. James Madison
  4. John Adams
  5. Barack Obama
  6. James Monroe
  7. Rutherford B Hayes
  8. Warren G Harding
  9. Bill Clinton
  10. Ronald Reagan
  11. Grover Cleveland (1st term)
  12. George Washington
  13. James A Garfield  ***Probably shouldn't count***
  14. Franklin D Roosevelt
  15. Andrew Johnson
  16. Millard Fillmore
  17. Theodore Roosevelt
  18. James K Polk
  19. William Henry Harrison ***Probably shouldn't count***
  20. Dwight D Eisenhower
  21. John Quincy Adams
  22. Lyndon B Johnson
  23. John Tyler
  24. William McKinley
  25. Gerald Ford
  26. Andrew Jackson
  27. Zachary Taylor
  28. Ulysses S Grant
  29. William H Taft
  30. John F Kennedy
  31. Chester A Arthur
  32. Harry S Truman
  33. Jimmy Carter
  34. Benjamin Harrison
  35. Joe Biden ***probably shouldn't count***
  36. Martin Van Buren
  37. Thomas Jefferson
  38. Abraham Lincoln
  39. Donald Trump
  40. Grover Cleveland (2nd term)
  41. Woodrow Wilson
  42. Herbert Hoover
  43. James Buchanan
  44. George HW Bush
  45. George W Bush
  46. Richard Nixon

One flaw in this algorithm is that earlier presidents are at a huge advantage because the government is smaller, debt and deficit more manageable. Also I'm weighing each category about equally. Lastly, my algorithm doesn't capture the affect of a previous president's policies on the economy inherited by the successor or successors. Therefore, there may be some adjustments. 

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